Understanding and applying a bedside visual field assessment is an important skill for the neurologist. By appreciating some basic anatomical and physiological principles it is possible to target the examination appropriately, thus gaining important diagnostic information with the minimum of fuss. Specific patterns of visual loss are caused by damage at various sites within the visual pathway. This review focuses on techniques that can be used at the bedside to identify common visual field defects and cites examples by dividing the visual system into its component parts. We urge the use of an appropriately sized red pin and berate the well worn “waggling finger” technique.
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